Barely a month after commissioning the Kapichira II Hydropower Station, government, with support from Japan, has announced the plan to expand Tedzani Hydropower station to increase power generation capacity.
The announcement follows an official signing ceremony of a grant agreement held at Capital Hill in Lilongwe on Monday where Japan said it will provide a grant to Malawi worth K420 million (US$1 031 941) to facilitate a detailed work design for the addition of a 21.8 megawatt hydropower station at Tedzani.
Minister of Finance Maxwell Mkwezalamba, who signed the grant agreement on behalf of Malawi, said he was pleased that the country has moved another step towards improving electricity power supply.
“As you are aware, poor electricity supply has been recognised as one of the factors deterring investors and weakening the competitiveness of our local industries,” said Mkwezalamba.
The minister said Malawi has been experiencing frequent black outs until recently after the commissioning of the Kapichira Hydropower Station Phase II, which has added megawatts to the national power grid.
Following the Kapichira two commissioning, Malawi’s power generation capacity has been increased to 351 megawatts against a focused demand of 350 megawatts.
“There is still need to invest more in the energy sector as demand is projected to increase to 598 megawatts in 2015, 874 megawatts in 2020, 1 193 megawatts in 2015 and 1 597 megawatts in 2030,” said Mkwezalamba.
He said to illustrate the problem of increased demand against generation, on Wednesday last week, Escom put an appeal in the newspapers for the public to conserve electricity wherever possible to avoid unnecessary load shedding due to increased demand as winter is approaching.
Mkwezalamba said such is an indication that despite the commissioning of Kapichira Phase two, there is still more that needs to be done with electricity generation.
“Expansion of Tedzani Hydropower Station is, therefore, one of the steps the government of Malawi is undertaking in order to address the challenges in the sector,” he added.
The minister also said government is also diversifying the sources of electricity so that electricity supply becomes reliable.
He said some of the projects that government is vigorously pursuing include the Malawi-Mozambique Interconnector Project and Kammwamba Thermo Powered Plant.
“Government is also carrying out a feasibility study for Kholombidzo Hydro Power Plant,” he added.
On his part, Japan Ambassador Shuichiro Nishioka noted that Malawi continues to face a number of challenges in order to meet the national socio-economic development growth.
He said with the current and future investments in various sectors including mining industry, Malawi needs to invest in new projects that will increase the energy supply.